Michelle is a publisher for Forelock Books. She has kindly taken the time to answer some questions about what she does.
How much of your day/week is related to horses?
With regard to my job, I have little contact with horses, but I spend at least 2 days a week at horse events, meeting equestrian readers and riders. My job also allows me to spend more time with my own horse. I can take advantage of good light and weather conditions to nip out for a ride and can easily work lessons, farrier and vet visits into my schedule.
What is it exactly that you do?
I look for the best pony and equestrian-led stories. Based on what I hear and am told by riders I decide which stories to publish. I then produce, promote and sell these books at pony club and horse events around the country.
In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
It’s certainly possible and that’s what I aim to do, however the set up costs for starting your own publishing business are very high and returns are low, unless you can sell thousands of copies. Finding your market and gaining a reader’s trust takes time.
(No one wants to spend precious time reading what could turn out to be a poor story and that’s why being a rider and horse enthusiast as well as a publisher is so important).
What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
Setting up your own publishing company is expensive and risky, but we like to use editors with some equine knowledge, preferably someone who grew up dreaming of or owning their own pony. Our editors work free-lance on a whole range of equestrian books, magazines and websites. This is a great way of earning a living while being involved in the equine business and having the flexibility to enjoy being a horse-owner.
Favourite horse memory?
Oooh I have so many, but my favourite memories are of school holidays when I was 10-12yrs old.
Days spent with my best friend and our ponies, riding across the mountains and along the beaches of Wales. Then, returning home, exhausted and looking forward to sleep so I could relive the day’s ride.
My future goal is to get Forelock Books recognised worldwide, so that we can continue publishing the very best horse and pony stories to inspire young riders and to remind older riders and horse enthusiasts of the magic ponies bring.
Best thing about your sport/profession?
Reading, riding and talking to young pony-lovers – seeing the gleam in their eyes and knowing where that comes from.